Joseph Mulholland

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ASTRONAUTS OF THE PEOPLE

Package us with Styrofoam petals & gauzy fire.
Peel back the tape. The saplings’ albino leaves purr pinkish.

The owls question our sincerity. I leave red lard & coffee for their altar.
If it clusters it was bred in winter. If it cancers it will suffocate

caked in artificial flavoring. Malleability’s blood-made snowflakes.
A coldly muzzled possum may call itself your father. In the Bulgarian

short film children collect volcanic rocks for winter trampolines.
The eye is a kiln. It bakes a ceramic wing that flakes like filo dough.

A sulfuric miasma travels from iceberg to iceberg. Under
the curling paws of hibernating beasts you hug cold knees.

But this is only California. In Berlin bleak canals strummed
our sadness into vessels hardened with tallow —sponged clean in air raids.

We wait patiently for chemical warfare. Dog-eared Rhododendrons
iron their misshapen gloves. This will all be a dream tomorrow.

We watch the surviving politicians walk baby polar bears
through Rittenhouse. Iguana skins are shredded for mulch.

Your urgency has no edges. Choke on this before it flies.
Open your mouth. Every patriot wants a tongue to die under.

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